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From: James Higgler, Communications Director, Statues and Monuments, Office of Replacement and Substitution

To: All departments

Date: May 29 2022

Subject: Proposed replacement for statue of Alexander Baranov, Sitka Alaska.

Status: Scheduled for removal; removal contested by Russian Orthodox clergy in Alaska.

Summary: We have received a petition with over 25,000 signatures to replace Baranov’s statue with one of someone named Peter Chanceaux, apparently an early internet pioneer. The petition organizers propose to pay for removal of Baranov’s monument and replacement at any Russian Orthodox facility. They will also pay to modernize the Soapy Smith Museum in Skagway, including a curated exhibit of the archives of the Committee of 101 and the Committee of 303. The organizers chose the Baranov location because it is the closest soon-to-be vacant pedestal to Banff, Alberta, home of Chanceaux, and the city which inspired him to present his groundbreaking new protocols to the world. In addition, the organizers claim that Chanceaux was a man entirely invested in finding GOD.

Action to be taken: All department heads, please have the application vetted according to the area of your responsibilities.

What did this guy do that was so important to 250,000 people?


FROM: Alisha Claviers, Director of Accomplishments Department, SMORS.

To: Higgler

CC: All departments

Date: June 7, 2022

From what I gather, Chanceaux was instrumental in the mid-80s in freeing civilian internet/online service users from per-minute charges (I.e. AOL in the U.S. or Minitel in Europe) for what are essentially highly addictive activities. He did so by means of releasing information about GOD (Global out-dial) to ordinary users. In my analysis, this would be the modern equivalent of Prometheus giving mortals the secrets of fire. I can only hope that he won’t be condemned to having his liver pecked out on a daily basis. At this point, I am in favor of Chanceaux replacing Baranov. Further research to follow.


FROM: Nigel Kitchener, International Relations.

Have established contact with Canada Historic Research Group. They don’t know who Chanceaux is or was; they said “Sorry, we’ll try to dig into the subject.”

Further updates to follow.


FROM: M. Yule Skinner, Legal

To: Higgler [private]

DATE: June 8 2022

Jim –

I just read the Claviers memorandum. Between you, me, and whoever’s in the woodpile, she can suck on my kayak and then do an Eskimo roll. This guy was a thief, plain and simple. He is responsible for theft of service on the order of tens of millions of dollars from GTE-Sprint, Telnet, France Telcom, and other national post offices and private X.25 protocol operators. If he’s dead, he should be dug up and shot.


To: Skinner [private]

DATE: June 8 2022

Mitch, this is a lot for a Monday. Don’t break protocol on this; I’m picking up some outside heat on the Baranov thing. Put your findings in a memo to all departments.



TO: All department heads

DATE: JUNE 9 2022

Subject: Chanceaux.

Hello, Everyone. Legal has determined that Chanceaux was (or is) essentially a crook, stealing from corporations and national posts on an order of magnitude of seven or eight figures in stolen network traffic time. Spreading like a virus outward from whoever received GOD passwords from him or from someone to whom Chanceaux had previously provided pilfered passwords, companies running timed X.25 and other internet platforms suffered staggering losses.

Legal objects to replacing Baranov with Chanceaux.




DATE: June 12 2022

Mitch, your math is all wrong. During the metered period, long-lines data traffic was rarely above five percent of capacity. Today, at flat subscription rates, transmission lines are 105% of capacity and with profit margins to internet service providers having increased over 20-fold. Chanceaux might be the second Burglar of Banff, but the net effect was that he received nothing and the so-called victims received money; lot’s of it. A guy like that doesn’t merit a statue?

“Yes, this is James Higgler, and yes I am the communications director of SMORS.”

“Thank you, Director Higgler.”

“Oh, please, it’s Jim, call me Jim, everyone calls me Jim.”

“Alright, Jim. Is it true that Mitchell Yule Skinner sent an email to a fellow department head, Alicia Claviers, which was at once sexually suggestive, harassing, and highly offensive to an Aleut Canadian who is now a United States national, Nigel Kitchener?”

“Who is this, again?”

“Harold Smithering, fact checker at MSNBC. Any comment?”

“I haven’t heard anything about it,” the Director didn’t quite lie in response: he read it but didn’t aurally hear it. “I’ll look into it and get back to you.”

“Thank you, Jim.  

“Hi, I’m Paul Levine, Press Office. What can I do for you?”

“I’m Fred Sorenson, Huff Post. I’m texting you some photos of the communications director of SMORS. I believe that’s part of the National Parks Administration. Is there any particular reason SMORS hired a communications director who dresses up, as, in photo 1, a Mau Mau Chieftain; Photo 2, a Sikh; Photo 3, a Chippewa Indian?”

“I’ve absolutely never heard or seen or heard anything about that,” the director honestly answered. “I’ll have to check up on that and get back to you.”

“Jim? Phil,” the SMORS General Director announced himself. “What’s the deal with the costume parade?”

“I wasn’t always a communications director, Phil. I used to be a social studies teacher. At the beginning of every unit, I would dress up as someone from wherever the lesson was about. To get the kids’ attention. We all had a blast. We illuminated manuscripts for the Middle Ages, carved totem poles. Once we made a little pyramid in left field in the school playground.”

“Hmm… O.K., Jim. You have a family emergency. It’s going to last about five months. See you at the Christmas party.”

“Pat, how come I’m not able to get any outside calls or emails,” the Director asked.

“Boss, everything is jammed with the Baranov thing. Two thousand people have called in claiming to either be Chanceaux, known Chanceaux, or had their original idea ripped off by our latest statue application.”

“Smitty, Jim. I hope your security department is up to this. Someone’s been leaking like a racehorse. Let me know what you find out.”

“Mitch? Jim. Pack up your stuff and get the fuck out. You’re done.“

“Jim? Fred Sorenson. Yes, from MSNBC. A follow up question, if you don’t mind.”

“Well, we’re kind of busy today. One question. Then I have to go.”

“Jim, could you confirm that your Grandmother’s name is Louise Chanceaux?”

“Yes, that’s correct. And entirely coincidental.”

“Hello. You’ve reached the headquarters of Statues and Monuments, Office of Replacement and Substitution. There is no one available to answer your call.”

September 05, 2020 01:28

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1 comment

Roland Aucoin
18:37 Sep 10, 2020

A great, funny story, Andrew. Easy flow for reading and no grammar oopses. Well done.


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